The European Central Bank (ECB) held a public consultation
from October 12, 2020, through January 12, 2021, to collect views on the benefits and challenges of issuing a digital euro. This consultation resulted in a total of 8221 responses with 47% from Germany, 15% from Italy, and 11% from France. Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain each provided between 1% and 5% of responses.
This consultation was comprised of 18 questions that aimed to collect the views of citizens and professionals. The first part consisted of questions that focused on citizens and their role as users, and the second part targeted financial, payment and technology professionals.
Upon completing this consultation, the ECB published a comprehensive analysis of the data collected. The primary focus areas that the public and professionals desire from a digital currency are privacy (43%), security (18%), ability to pay across the euro area (11%), no additional costs (9%) and offline usability (8%).
The majority of the survey participants anticipate intermediaries will provide innovative and efficient services to allow access to a digital euro, as well as a system that integrates uniformly with existing banking and payment systems.
In general, the majority of participants were in favour of a digital euro, with the citizens generally opting for an offline solution that prioritised privacy. Additionally, a quarter of the participants anticipate that a digital euro would make cross-border payments timelier and more affordable.
The decision to move forward with a formal investigation phase will be made by the ECB’s Governing Council in the coming months.